Posted on March 10, 2021

American Worker Displacement Soars as Immigrants Scoop Up All New Jobs

Peter Brimelow, VDARE, March 8, 2021

February’s employment data released last Friday was rapturously received by the Regime Media (which now includes the born-again Leftist Drudge Report, see image above). Missing as usual: the immigration dimension. Immigrants took ALL the much-vaunted jobs increase. And American worker displacement is soaring.

The U.S. economy added 379,000 jobs in February according to the Payroll Survey, nearly double the consensus estimate of 200,000 [U.S. labor market roars back; full recovery still years away by Reuters, March 5 2021].

The “other” survey, of Households, shows a 208,000 total job gain for February. Helpfully—and for how much longer under the Biden Regime? —the Household Survey disaggregates immigrant (legal and illegal) and native-born American employment. In February, immigrants took it all.

Our analysis of the February Household Survey finds:

  • Total employment rose by 208,000, a 0.14% increase from January.
  • Immigrants (legal and illegal) gained a whopping 387,000 jobs, up 1.51% from January.
  • Native-born Americans LOST 179,000 positions, a 0.14% drop from January.
  •’s immigrant employment index, set at 100.0 in January 2009, rose to 120.0 from 118.3 in January, a 1.51% rise.
  • Our native-born American employment index FELL to 103.1 from 103.2 in January, a 0.14% decline.

This means that the New VDARE American Worker Displacement Index (NVDAWDI), our name for the ratio of immigrant to native-born American employment growth indexes since Jan. 2009, rose to 116.5 from 114.6 in January, a 1.66% rise.

So the displacement of native-born American workers, after pausing in December and January, came back big-time last month.

The Leisure and Hospitality sector—a major employer of immigrants—gained 61,400 jobs after dropping by a nearly identical number in January. Restaurant activity, another immigrant-prone sector, also recovered smartly in February.

As new COVID cases decline and vaccination-related immunity rises, these sectors will push immigrant share of total employment still higher.

Another metric—the immigrant share of total employment—also shot upwards dramatically in February.

Our analysis shows 17.30% of all jobs were held by immigrants—well above January’s 17.05%, and the highest share since February 2020, the last pre-pandemic month, when immigrants held 17.53% of all jobs.

After some gyrations, the immigrant share of employment had been falling steadily before the pandemic started.

Each 1% rise in immigrant employment share represents a transfer of about 1.5 million jobs from native-born to immigrants.

The year-over-year rise in the foreign-born working-age population continued last month.

Note carefully what this chart shows. Unlike our other charts, which show absolute values, this one compares each month to the same month in the preceding year. So the immigrant workforce population grew by 417,000 in February 2021 compared to February 2020.

Of course, this bad news (for American workers and the GOP) were relatively good when juxtaposed to the 724,000 year-over-year growth recorded in January. (Record snow and cold in Texas may have contributed to the respite).

But although our chart ticks down, it means that the immigrant workforce population still grew in February 2021.

And this is in remarkable contrast to the 15-month net exodus of working-age immigrants beginning before Covid and coming to an abrupt end in December 2021. This shows up in our chart in red. It far exceeds the net exodus during the 2008 Great Recession or the brief net exodus during Trump’s first year, when his mere presence seems to have jawboned illegals into fleeing.

We’ve previously labelled this “The Trump Triumph.” It seems to have been achieved entirely by a relentless, extremely unTrumpian, Executive branch campaign of detailed regulatory change.

Of course, this is now being undone by the Biden Regime.

A more detailed picture of how American workers have fared vis-à-vis immigrants is published in Table A-7 of the monthly BLS Report:

Employment Status by Nativity, Feb.2020-Feb. 2021
(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted)
Feb-20 Feb-21 Change % Change
Foreign born, 16 years and older
Civilian population 42,956 43,373 417 0.97%
Civilian labor force 28,719 27,946 -773 -2.69%
Participation rate (%) 66.9 64.4 -2.5pts. -3.74%
Employed 27,697 25,862 -1,835 -6.63%
Employment/population (%) 64.5 59.6 -4.9pts. -7.60%
Unemployed 1,022 2,084 1,062 103.91%
Unemployment rate (%) 3.6 7.5 3.9pts. 108.33%
Not in labor force 14,237 15,428 1,191 8.37%
Native born, 16 years and older
Civilian population 216,673 217,545 872 0.40%
Civilian labor force 135,516 132,062 -3,454 -2.55%
Participation rate (%) 62.5 60.7 -1.8pts. -2.88%
Employed 130,320 123,660 -6,660 -5.11%
Employment/population (%) 60.1 56.8 -3.3pts. -5.49%
Unemployed 5,196 8,402 3,206 61.70%
Unemployment rate (%) 3.8 6.4 2.6pts. 68.42%
Not in labor force 81,157 85,483 4,326 5.33%
Source: BLS, The Employment Situation, February 2021. Table A-7, March 5, 2021. PDF

From February 2020 to February 2021:

  • The immigrant working age population rose by 417,000, a gain of 0.97%; the corresponding native-born population rose by 872,000—a rise of 0.4% ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS, AS THEIR WORKFORCE POPULATION GREW MORE THAN TWICE AS FAST AS NATIVE-BORN AMERICANS.
  • February 2020 was the last pre-pandemic month, so it’s not surprising that both native-born and immigrants suffered large job losses year-over-year. Immigrants lost 1.835 million jobs, a 6.63% decline; Native-born Americans lost 6.66 million positions, a 5.11% fall. ADVANTAGE NATIVE-BORN AMERICANS. (For now).
  • The immigrant labor force (working or looking for work) fell by 773,000, or 2.69%; the native-born labor force fell by 3.454 million, a 2.55% drop. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS.
  • The unemployment rate for native-born Americans rose from 3.8% to 6.4%, a gain of 68.4%; the immigrant unemployment rate more than doubled, going from 3.6% to 7.5 ADVANTAGE NATIVE-BORN AMERICANS.
  • 8.4 million native-born, and 2.1 million immigrants, were unemployed in February 2021, but since last February the number of unemployed immigrants rose by 103.9%, while the number of native-born jobless rose by “only” 61.7%. ADVANTAGE NATIVE-BORN AMERICANS
  • Labor force Participation Rates fell for both immigrants and native-born Americans, with the immigrant LPR falling by 2.5 percentage points, or by 3.7%, and the native-born American rate fell by 1.8 percentage points, or 2.9%. ADVANTAGE NATIVE-BORN AMERICANS

As we go to pixel, the Border Patrol has not yet released its monthly estimate of border crossings, but leaks suggest it is surging [Number of Illegal Border Crossings Now 6 Times What Obama Team Considered “Crisis,” by Jay Carafano, Heritage, March 4, 2021].

This apparently is beginning to rattle the Biden Regime: White House says it must ‘work more’ to discourage illegal migrants coming to US, by Emily Jacobs, NY Post, March 8, 2021.

But why should it care? Its proposed immigration legislation will displace and immiserate the Historic American Nation far worse.